I have been submitting for a number of years, but every time I think I’ve cracked it, I still get that disheartening rejection letter. I’ve been working on my current story for a while now, and I absolutely love it, but I’ve been asked to re-work my chapters a number of times. However, I’m reluctant because I know the direction I want my story to go in. How, if at all can I let go? I need your help!
Firstly, every time you get given a long letter from an editor asking you to make changes or think about your characters differently you should celebrate. This is because they have seen something special in your voice and want to work with you to make your story publishable. Honestly, editors do not like writing revision letters for the fun of it, but we do love working with authors to make their books the very best they can be!
After you’ve celebrated the fact you’ve caught the eye of an editor, it’s important to embrace letting go. Of course, we understand that you’ve put your heart and soul into your story and your characters are important to you. It is never our intention to drastically alter what makes your story unique or alter your author voice, but we want to work with you to tease out all the potential in it. So let yourself be open-minded to the idea of making the necessary changes an editor has asked for. The red pen should be your friend, not your foe!
Put your editor’s hat on! This is always difficult, but try to look at it from the other side. It’s never easy to take yourself out of a story you have written, but when you review your revision letter, put yourself in the editor’s – and your potential readers’ – shoes. How does your manuscript compare to the books it is competing against? Does it have the right level of pace? Do the black moments pack an emotional punch? The more you write (and read competitively) the faster you will be able to see if all the key components come together. And if you can learn to look at it impartially, you will see that editors don’t ask for changes for the sake of it. Rather, we see the areas that, if approached differently, could make your story absolutely shine!
Remember, you are not the only one to be asked to make changes. New authors and experienced authors alike are given revisions, so you are not alone in striving to write the very best book possible.
If you are really struggling to let go, then be honest with yourself. You might adore the characters and the plot so much that you can’t envision them any other way, but if you keep getting feedback that they’re not quite working, perhaps the time has come to put this book to one side. The best course of action may be to take the learnings and the advice you have been given and simply start afresh. Every book you write, whether it finds its way to be published or not, is a step in your journey as a writer and will shape the kind of author you are. Challenge yourself to learn from each experience and each book!
Finally, never lose sight of the fact an editor sees something special in you, and wants to help mould you and the book into something to be truly proud of. But this can only happen if you work together – so be brave and embrace the possibility of change!
Best of luck with it!
The Sold Editors x